I’ve got nothing better to do at the moment, so I’ll take the opportunity to write my first of many little blurbs. Mostly, I’ll be recapping things I learned in a given week, but every now and then I may post a thought or even a question and I’d encourage anyone reading to respond with discussion if they agree or disagree.
Anyways, as this is my first post, I can’t think of a better way to start than to give a bit of a history of how how my beliefs formed and eventually changed into how I currently view the Universe. Most of you who know me personally know me well enough that you are aware (and probably were a part) of my religious upbringing. I was born into a Christian family that has, by many people’s standards, rather strict morals. In many ways, you could say I am grateful for my Christian upbringing. By direct result of being a member of this church, I met my girlfriend of nearly 5 years, whom I love very much, and I also formed a small, but very close group of outstanding friends. It also probably helped to keep me out of trouble when I was in middle and high school. That all being said, I no longer consider myself a part of the Church, or any religion for that matter; nor do I believe in a personal god.
That probably comes as a bit of a shock to some of you who may be reading this. Indeed, most of the people I know have connections with the Boston Church of Christ. Most of my old friends from the Teens (the Church’s youth group for kids aged about 12 or 13 to 18)probably remember me as a very spiritual and religious person. Although I never chose to be baptized, I still believed in God and that Jesus had died for my sins. I went to church every Sunday morning, Wednesday night, and most Friday nights. I even attempted to convert a few friends from school, a feat in which I almost succeeded.
It’s interesting to note that while growing up, I held a steadfast belief in the Bible (including the Creation story, Noah’s Ark, and the Resurrection story), and yet at the same time I had always had a deep-seeded interest in science. In the fourth grade I was an avid amateur astronomer (oooo nice alliteration!). Middle school science taught me about the Theory of Evolution. I had at the time a basic understanding of the theory and how evolution actually worked. Yet it still made perfect sense to me, despite it totally contradicting many of the claims made by the bible. For a while I sort of compartmentalized my beliefs about God and Science so I could believe both even though they couldn’t both be absolutely true. After a while, my two beliefs systems came to a head and I latched onto the Intelligent Design argument, basically saying that evolution was just God’s way of doing things. But that’s not what the Bible says. I either evolved from monkeys or I was made from dust. My own logic told me that there were literally hundreds, if not thousands of religions and beliefs centered around the supernatural, but only one could be right, presumably, so the odds of me being a part of the one religion that has been right throughout human history. are incredibly low. My curiosity led me back to science to find my answers. I began to read (and still do) everything I could. I read articles and science blogs, listen to podcasts, and bought a bunch of very eye-opening books, including The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. That book alone swept away my remaining doubts about becoming an atheist, but then I learned even more about my once-held beliefs. I won’t go into them in detail here because I don’t want you to question your faith unless you want to, be if you’re interested, look up the comparisons between Jesus and many other deities from multiple religions in the world, particularly Horus. There is a lot to read on the subject and all of it is very interesting.
So, long story made short, I was raised Christian but when my conflicting scientific views won out over my religious ones, I realized I no longer believed in God.
That being said, I want to attempt to dispel some the misconceptions regarding atheism. Firstly, Atheists can have morals equally as strong as any religious person, and perhaps even stronger ones. I have come to believe that morals are not drawn from the Bible or any other religious texts. It’s entirely likely that all humans evolved a sense altruism towards fellow humans. Yes, that’s right, I said evolved. Our desire to be good to other people has evolved with us and helped us survive. Atheists are no more likely to become mass-murders than religious people. In fact, I would argue that most atrocities in human history (including, but not limited to the Holocaust, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and of course 9/11) can be directly linked to religion, and in most cases were perpetrated by the religious themselves. If you want to learn more about morality and atheism, I highly recommend checking out the aforementioned The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for this post. Next time I will probably focus more on a specific topic, but as I mentioned, I really wanted to let anyone reading this know how I came to believe what I believe.